A basic extension is an intermediate stunt in cheerleading that is most often used as the entry into more complex stunts, such as scorpions, bow and arrows and basket tosses. The basic extension is one of the most popular moves for cheerleading, and a staple for stunting teams. Though a basic move, the extension still requires strength, agility, skill and trust among squad members. This move should only be performed under proper, trained supervision to ensure the safety of everyone. Set-Up Stunt Groups: 1 Spotter: At least 1 Bases: 2 Flyer: 1 Level: Intermediate Though the extension itself only requires one stunt group, having multiple stunt groups performing synchronized extensions will really take the visual aspect of your performance to the next level. Before any group attempts a stunt, they should discuss and decide on a standard count series. Each and every stunt a group performs should be done on counts, and it is typically the responsibility of the spotter to keep the beat and call it out. Timing is critical in stunting, and new teams need to practice their timing as much as they practice their actual stunts. Many stunts begin with a two beat, “Ready, OK” count, where all positions bring their arms up and clap once on beat. This helps get everyone’s attention, lets them know to focus and assures the entire group that everyone is ready. From there the stunt group gets into formation, and the spotter begins the count series (typically based on an 8-beat count). How To Perform A Basic Extension Formation Bases: The bases should be stand facing each other in a shoulder to hip width stance, with their backs straight and their arms against their sides. Flyer: The flyer should face forward, in between and slightly behind the bases. The flyer’s arms should be against their sides. Spotter: There should be at least one back spotter for this stunt. A front spotter can be utilized as well, but this guide will only cover a back spotter. The back spotter should be positioned directly behind the flyer, facing forward. The base’s arms should be by their sides. Entry Bases: On the right count, the bases should go into a half squat, keeping their backs straight and their heads apart. Each base should cup their hands, palms up, in anticipation of receiving the flyer’s foot. The main base will receive the flyer’s foot first, in a standard step-up. The assisting base will receive the flyer’s other foot from the lift off, so needs to be ready for a more intense impact. Flyer: The flyer positions one hand on each of the base’s shoulders, keeping their arms bent and their elbows up, and transfers their weight from their legs to their arms. Simultaneously, the flyer lifts one leg to about a 90-degree angle, placing that foot inside of their main base’s cupped hands. Spotter: The spotter should position their hands on the flyer’s waist and follow the movement of the flyer throughout the stunt. Their grip should be firm, but loose enough so that it is not restricting. Simultaneously, the spotter is calling out the count series clearly and loudly. Momentum Bases: The bases will hold their supporting position while the flyer gains momentum for the lift. The flyer and spotter will sink down during this series of counts, but the bases should hold steady. Flyer: The flyer should straighten their arms to lift their free foot slightly off the ground or up onto the ball of their foot. Then, the flyer should bend their arms again, bring their foot back down and sink down. This should not be a bouncing motion; it should be a controlled move that will give the lift more power. Spotter: The spotter will hold their supporting position while the flyer gains momentum for the lift, and continue the count series. As always, the spotter should be sure to follow the flyer’s movements, squatting and sinking with them. Lift Bases: As the flyer pushes of the ground and brings their foot into the assisting base’s waiting hands, the bases should dip down low with their legs, and drop their arms to about hip level. This is to build power for the lift. Immediately following the dip, the bases will begin to straighten their legs and extend their arms upwards to lift the flyer. The lift is not a jumping motion. The bases should be lifting from their legs, using the power of coming out of their squat to help propel the flyer upwards, and supporting the flyer on their palms. The bases will need more power for a full extension then for an elevator stunt, since they will be lifting the flyer past the chin level. For an extension, the bases lift the flyer all the way up, so that their arms are straight above them. Once they pass the elevator position, both bases should shift their forward hand to cover the front/ toe area of the flyer’s foot to give them more support and stability. Flyer: As the flyer lands their free foot, they should repeat the push off but this time load their free foot into the hands of the assisting base. As they are loading their foot, they should also begin to dip with the bases. Then, the bases will begin to rise and lift the flyer. While the bases are rising, the flyer should begin to move into a standing position by pushing off the base’s shoulders and straightening their legs. The flyer should lock their legs and tighten their core once they are in the air and their legs are straight. Once in position, the flyer may choose to use a motion, such as a “T” or “high V” to add extra flare to the stunt. Spotter: As the flyer brings their foot back down on the spotter’s count, the spotter should keep their hands on the flyer’s waist and dip with the stunt group. The spotter will help the flyer rise and keep stability during the lift. Once the flyer begins to stand, the spotter should release the flyer’s waist and firmly position their hands either at the tops of the flyer’s ankles or low on the flyer’s calves and help the bases lift the flyer to the full extension. When releasing the flyer’s waist, the spotter must be careful to pull their arms back and to the side so they don’t interfere with the flyer’s ascension. Dismount There are a few options for dismounting from an extension during practice, depending on your experience, skill and comfort. The bases and spotters can work together to lower the flyer back to the elevator position, and then use a front walkout. If you choose to have a front spotter, they would hold the flyers hands as their stunt group lowers them. If the stunt group is ready for something a little more advanced, they can use a cradle to dismount from an extension. Check out the step-by-step instructions and visual guide from the Beginner’s Guide On How To Perform A Cradle article. Tips For Performing An Extension All positions should have their eyes on the flyer at all times. This is a safety precaution, and also a requirement in competitions. The flyer’s eyes should be focused on something in the horizon during the stunt to help them keep their balance. Bases should stand as close together as possible without restricting the flyer’s space. If the bases create too much distance, the flyer is going to end up with sloppy form since their legs will be in a split position, which will strain and likely topple the entire stunt.